At the beginning of this board of directors term last spring the Third Space invited board memebers to a closed door meeting for members to discuss their stories of the SUB, UVSS, and imporvements that could be made to better serve students. Our collective had a meeting with a few executives from the University of Victoria Student’s Society. In order to create a safe space for our members to share their stories we told the visiting UVSS execs that the meeting was confidential, a closed door meeting. The executives agreed and we began our meeting. During the course of the meeting our members shared their thoughts and stories with the executives who sat quietly and listened. After the meeting we had our regularly scheduled collective meeting.
A couple of days after the collective meeting one of our coordinators received an email from Mackenzie Cumberland, a UVSS board executive who had attended the closed door session stating that our meeting, our stories, were not confidential since the meeting took place in a public space (our women’s centre), and that since we are not a society, but a group within the student society, then we have no legal ability to enforce confidentiality.
Our collective is incredibly upset at this breach of our trust, and although there may not be a legal instrument to enforce confidentiality of our meetings, the principle still stands that Mackenzie Cumberland sat in our meeting, agreed to the confidentiality of the students in attendance, without any intention of maintaining that spoken agreement. This, in our opinion, is not only unethical, but is malicious, and tantamount to professional misconduct! Mackenzie Cumberland entered a verbal agreement with our collective to maintain confidentiality and she chose to disclose that information publicly without our consent. The UVSS board is aware of Mackenzie Cumberland’s actions and has yet to take any action on this matter. Mackenzie Cumberland reminded members of our collective that asked questions to the board at the last UVSS board meeting (June 12th, 2017), that the women’s centre collective has no right to expect confidentiality in any of our meetings! In essence, we were reminded that our rights are secondary to the privilege of those in positions of power.
Noor Chasib and Anmol Swaich also attended this meeting and although both of them privately apologized for the actions of the Director of Finance Mackenzie Cumberland, both have been silent on the issue when brought up in UVSS board meetings.
After allowing ample time and multiple students asking the UVSS Board of Directors to be accountable for the actions of the Director of Finance Mackenzie Cumberland, and after appealing to the board at UVSS board meetings, including a heartfelt plea from a student during question period, the stone faced board has been silent on this issue, without remorse. The UVSS claims that they are accountable, yet when asked to be accountable they become suddenly silent. Actions are louder than words. The Feminist Undergraduate Community Collective has since banned Mackenzie Cumebrland from all FUCC UVSS events, meetings, and the space itself in order to protect the privacy of students. We hope that other students will speak to the UVSS board and ask why they refuse to acknowledge the unethical behavior of an executive.